LA Authority Wants to Remove ‘Homeless’ from People’s Vocabulary

Term being called “outdated and dehumanizing.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The LA Homeless Services Authority has issued a call to stop using the term “homeless,” claiming that it is “outdated and dehumanizing” and promotes “othering.”
  • In order to “emphasize personhood over housing status,” the Authority, which has the term “homeless” in its name, wants to see it replaced with phrases like “people who live outside.”
  • The city’s decision to change the verbiage surrounding its expansive homeless population has caused some to question whether the homeless services authority could be focusing on the wrong issues.
RESPONSE TO THE CHANGE:
  • “Let’s compare this to how people who declined the covid shots have been referred to over the past few years,” said one social media user in response to the LA Homeless Authority’s announcement.
  • “Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner!? This will definitely solve the problem. Will you be making guides in other languages?” said another user.
  • “And what should we call violent drug addicts who live on the street and attack innocent victims? Guardian Angels?” podcaster Tom Leykis said in response to the tweet.
  • Another user tried out the verbiage saying, “A person experiencing homelessness, who was also experiencing meth-induced psychosis, violently attacked my family in Venice recently. As a result, my daughter experienced severe trauma. The person experiencing homelessness will experience no consequences. Did I do that right?”
BACKGROUND:
  • Statistics from January 2020 indicate that upwards of 580,000 people were homeless in the U.S. each night, and around 226,000 of them sleeping outside, in cars, or in abandoned buildings.
  • In New York City, homeless estimates range from 2,300 to 5,000 people thought likely to be living on the streets, and an additional 45,000 are believed to be in shelters.
  • The city of San Francisco, however, has around 8,000 people living in its streets, which have become so dangerous that Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in December of 2021.
  • Los Angeles County has an estimated 58,000 homeless residents, about 16,000 of which are on the streets.
  • Roughly 60% of those homeless are experiencing homelessness for the first time.